VISIT TO MENTAL ASYLUM, THANE
Visit to Mental Asylum, Thane
Report on the Visit to Thane Mental Asylum on February 22, 2020(Saturday.)
Ten of us who visited Thane Mental Hospital thanks to our Harish Iyer’s generous gift hampers to more than 300 patients at their sports events and Bharati’s efforts to facilitate this, came back with a heart filled with gratitude.
Satish and Harish played Saarthi as well. We all had a beautiful ride to the hospital.
What was so striking about this place was the happy contented faces of patients and staff members. There was no sign of stress or irritation on any one’s face.
While we gave away the gift hampers to winners in several sports events, each one of us received nice flower bouquets hand-made by them. Many patients admitted there and receiving treatment are doctors, engineers, actors, call centre employees. The Director, Supervisor and counsellors are very empathetic. One of the participants read out a beautiful poem and she has a collection of 70 poems already. We have offered to publish the poems.
We saw various items they make – like wall hangings, purses, haldi-kumkum containers and so on. Our Kamalini has proposed to them that she would like to conduct a drawing workshop and donate painting material for those who participate.
The facility is very spacious, well lit, clean and well-maintained. Government outlay of 50 crores a year is available to run the place. There are about 960 patients who live there. Those who can afford are taken care of at a cost of just Rs 22 per day! For others it is free.
Thank you Bharati and Harish for making this experience possible. Thank you Leja, Satish, Manju, Kamalini, Rekha, and Adarsh for giving us company. The lunch at Tip Top was very fulfilling especially with the light hearted banter we all had ?
In this context, I share a poem, a plea for acceptance that I read online, written by Eileen, a girl who was ones admitted for psychiatric care:
‘My friends and I live on a supermarket shelf
Inside jars tins and boxes
Our labels announcing we are
50 percent depressed,
30 percent psychotic,
20 percent suicidal
100 percent mentally ill,
check the lid for the “best before” date
And although we live under lock and key
My friends are the bravest people you’ll ever meet
We may be shattered but that doesn’t mean
That we can’t still gleam in the sunlight
Tarnished silver still shines in the right light
The pain may be constant but we are not
Always screaming, crying, shouting
Hitting, kicking, throwing
Pulling, pushing, scratching, scarring
We are not wrong because we “malfunction”
Because in our lives we missed the right junction…
It’s about time we were recognized as people.
Not as symptoms or fears but as kids who lost a couple of years to illness and hurt
This doesn’t mean this defines us
This does not make us broken
We may not be strong, we are fallible
But we at least are not irreparable.’
Friends, while writing this report my heart fills with gratitude that God has helped many of us stay strong in spite of stress, and prays for those who could not.